'It was my first love' - First Dates Ireland's Sarah on boyfriend's suicide
First Dates Ireland star Sarah Hamilton has opened up about her first boyfriend's suicide.
The Dubliner caused quite a stir with viewers when she appeared on the blind date show last week. Many took to social media to poke fun at her and date Brian's perceived arrogance and cringeworthy remarks.
But the comments did not phase the aspiring author, who is currently penning a novel she hopes will shine a spotlight on mental health in Ireland.
Speaking to Eoghan McDermott on 2fm, Sarah revealed her book was inspired by her boyfriend's suicide when she was 21.
"I had an experience with suicide at a young age so the book is documenting teenage years in Dublin and how you hide a lot of things from your parents," she said.
"Something dark happens, which I think happens a lot in Ireland. For me growing up, I wasn't really able to tell my parents stuff.
"It was my first love. My first boyfriend. He had not been well for a couple of years I learned a lot through it.
"It was a shock and it was something you think you wouldn't be able to go through but then you do go through it."
Sarah used the experience as inspiration for a short story which sparked the idea for her book.
"I remember I was doing a class in creative writing at the time and I had to tell my tutor, I can't come in, my first boyfriend committed suicide.
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"I wrote a short story about it and then I went in to do my Masters in UCD and I wrote about it and got a first in that and I thought, this is a story we need to be told.
"I really want young men to get the support they deserve," she said. "It breaks my heart that in Ireland I've seen so many young men who are so talented and exceptional and they don't get the support they need. It would be my dream to draw attention to that."
Sarah also opened up on the online hate she received after her episode aired, and revealed she thinks people have a problem with confident women.
"You never know how people will perceive you," she said. "It's so unforgiving to be a confident woman and I don't understand why.
"I think sometimes people would rather you be the shrinking violet. I don't get it. For me, I went on the show thinking my friends are going to take the piss out of me for this and I didn't think about the wider audience.
"We are so scared to go onto something and be normal. God forbid a woman who wears make-up, is writing a novel and has an MA. It is not accepted."